Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur


A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.


And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Posted 12-Mar-2015 at 08:58 PM (20:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

I first met Terry Pratchett around twenty years ago, at a SF/fantasy convention in the Netherlands. I had not read any of his books, and I had thought they must be silly because of the book-cover design. This was not the only huge mistake I was to make. A year later, and a neurology research colleague at Duesseldorf university recommended his books to me. Eventually I actually read one, and I was blown away, hooked for evermore. Once I actually read his books, the book-cover design made perfect...
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At Greenbelt Festival - the music group Dizraeli And The Small Gods

Posted 28-Aug-2011 at 11:56 AM (11:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 28-Aug-2011 at 12:13 PM (12:13) by Gurdur

I saw an item on the Greenbelt program titled "Dizaeli And The Small Gods", which I took to be the really smart title of a therefore-interesting talk about Benjamin Disraeli, who served a couple of terms as British Primie Minister in the late 1800's, skepticism, belief and nonbelief. So I took some time out from helping out at the social-media surgery and representing atheists there at the Greenbelt Christian festival to go along to what I thought was a talk. It turned out actually to be a music...
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Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

More on the pressure tactics being used in a run-up to the Church of England Synod

Posted 21-Oct-2010 at 02:25 PM (14:25) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Oct-2010 at 02:44 PM (14:44) by Gurdur

I blogged just the other day on a supposed press release quoted in Damian Thompson's blog on the Daily Telegraph, alleged to be from Evangelical and (Anglo-)Catholic groups in those elected to the upcoming Church of England Synod (which meets in November, to decide on things that include the proposed Anglican Covenant and the issue of women bishops). As I said at the time, I was somewhat suspicious of it, since I could find no independent verification of it on the net, but it looked plausible and...
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Doing rituals for sheer fun; Church of Om, DiscWorld; separately Edward Kagin debaptises with hairdryer

Posted 27-Jul-2010 at 05:58 PM (17:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Jul-2010 at 06:14 PM (18:14) by Gurdur

Ruth Gledhill recently blogged in The Times Online about Edward Kagin doing a de-baptism rite with a hairdryer. Just how serious Kagin was (photo below at right), I have no idea. The Get Religion blog was quite critical of the reporting from the ABC about it. As a serious thing, I think it's rather silly and problematical; as simply a fun thing, why not if you want to? Sometimes it's simply fun to do or observe rituals, to parody, or to simply explore.
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My review of the novel by China Miéville, Kraken (science fiction/fantasy, evolution, Darwin, atheism, faith and religion)

Posted 13-May-2010 at 10:04 AM (10:04) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 13-May-2010 at 03:11 PM (15:11) by Gurdur

I'm going to review the SF/fantasy novel Kraken, (author: China Miéville; USA edition, British edition) here, rather than on the Hub board, because this novel has been getting a lot of interest in the blogosphere, dealing as it does with themes including Darwin, evolution, religion, faith and atheism. It's quite a long novel; my hardcover copy runs to 482 pages. It's a very well-written, well-paced novel indeed, and yet I found it ultimately disappointing. Perhaps I found it disappointing because...
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The importance of deciding and being who you are, especially through your choice of morals; looking at ethics, moral subjectivity, nihilism and moral relativism

Posted 27-Apr-2010 at 05:40 PM (17:40) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 29-Oct-2010 at 08:07 AM (08:07) by Gurdur

I've blogged before that ethics is a field that is a minefield for everyone, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or atheist, whether a bricklayer or a scientist. Ethics are not easy. But your choice of ethics, your choice of morals, is all part of your choice of values, and while changing that a bit is one of the most difficult tasks you can set yourself, since values are embedded so deep within personalities, it is still a very worthwhile task, since it really gets to the essence of you defining...
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Church of Om service, Part A, DiscWorld Covention 2008

Posted 04-Apr-2010 at 11:09 PM (23:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 05-Apr-2010 at 12:48 PM (12:48) by Gurdur

Here is Part A of the Church of Om service at the DiscWorld Convention, 2008.

Please do excuse the camera-shake and the lack of good video editing; when I took those videos at the DWcon in 2008, I had only owned the camcorder for 2 days previously, my very first one; and I was unsure as to whether I was allowed to video the service at all, and consequently I was trying to be very discreet about taping it all.

The bloke at the far right of the video, the service celebrant...
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Chronic pain sufferers, we are deadly poisonous to vultures and to rainbow trout.

Posted 24-Oct-2009 at 02:06 AM (02:06) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 20-Nov-2014 at 07:15 AM (07:15) by Gurdur

Many with chronic musculoskeletal pain take Wikipedia link for diclofenac diclofenac (marketed under the brandname Voltaren and a very large number of other brandnames), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. It is very helpful stuff, but it does have a major drawback -- it is deadly to vultures. And that is not a good thing.

Diclofenac has now been shown to be the cause of the massive vulture population decline in Pakistan and the whole Indian subcontinent, as well as in South Africa.

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